The ELAN team and Board are united in their shared revulsion at last week’s murder of an unarmed Black man by police in Minneapolis. This incident has sparked international outrage because every country in the world, and every city, has its own share of victims and oppressors, its own glaring inequalities and shameful ongoing failure to eliminate systemic racism, racial profiling and violence against Black people, Indigenous peoples and peoples of colour.
A December 2018 study by Concordia University exposed the long and oppressive history of racial profiling in Montreal, focused on the culturally diverse Montreal neighbourhood of Saint-Michel. The report was deeply troubling yet quickly filed away. In October 2019, Montreal’s police department (SPVM) released an independently commissioned study revealing that Black, Indigenous and Arab people are four times more likely to be stopped by police than white people. Described as shocking by Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, the report marked one of the rare times Montreal’s police force publicly recognized that some of it officers may harbour biases toward the city’s minority communities.
Eighteen months later, there is little evidence of improvement.
As the entire world protests the reprehensible killing of George Floyd, let us not forget our local victims who died at the hands of our police. To name a few: Anthony Griffin, Fredy Villanueva, Bony Jean-Pierre, Pierre Coriolan, and Nicholas Gibbs.
Now is the time for us to implement real change by supporting Black-led organizations with donations, by continually educating ourselves and our children about the realities of racism, by actively listening to marginalized voices, by calling out racism in real life (not just on social media), and by contacting local officials about acting on systemic change.
Signed unanimously by the ELAN Inclusion Committee
Established in 2018, ELAN Inclusion Committee’s mandate is to promote and advance inclusion within the organization, its activities and projects. Through action and advocacy, the committee addresses issues of discrimination, racism, and oppression that directly impact the arts and cultural communities of Quebec. Interested in sharing ideas to improve inclusion / joining ELAN’s Inclusion Committee? Please contact Swati Khanna at Swati@quebec-elan.org.
WAYS TO HELP / RESOURCES
- If you can, please show your support and donate to frontline organizations.
Here are a few: Hoodstock, Black Lives Matter TO, Afrique au Feminin, Black Theatre Workshop
- Keep learning and stay informed (here are some resources)
- Noprisons.ca A brief history of anti-Black policing in Montreal
- #BlackLivesMtlSyllabus– Montreal specific reading syllabus compiled by Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to Present
- Anti Racist Action (An extensive master list of resources)
- Anti-racism resources for white people (another comprehensive master list of resources)
- White Supremacy Culture in Organizations by COCo
- Write to your local representatives
about Premier Legault’s groundless comments on the “non-existence of systemic racism in Québec” made on June 1st during an official press conference. Here is a template that you can use.
- Write to your city officials to defund the police. Here is a template for the City of Montreal
- Read and learn about what Black-led associations and organizations are doing. Black Montreal: Community Associations and Organizations– master list of Black community orgs in Montreal
- Consult this great round up or resources collected by the Quebec Drama Federation.